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Strategic planning for your firm

With the rise of technology in recent decades and a new generation on the precipice of working for and with the accounting field, the landscape of this industry is ever-changing and needs to be assessed constantly to ensure your work is relevant and reaching your targets. Engaging in strategic planning on a regular basis ensures your clients receive the most up to date services while ensuring your firm remains ahead of the curve and competition.

Flexibility is a cornerstone of strategic planning and by frequently adapting to change, your strategy needs to be open to adjustment as you adapt to fluctuations in the market. Reassessing your strategies and being open to feedback will allow you to shift your focus based on your client’s expectations.

Setting goals both financially and strategically helps your firm by establishing concise objectives and identifying steps needed to achieve them. Focusing on the resources needed to reach these goals on a regular basis will allow you to allocate your resources effectively based on a thorough understanding of your capacity to ensure you’re able to invest in areas that will provide a clear path to achieving strategic targets.

I always start with a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) which can help your firm identify, both through internal and external stakeholders, what can be improved and where you’re shining. This can be used to inform strategic decision making and when engaged on a regular basis, this analysis will allow you to capitalise on new opportunities.

While we’re on the topic of opportunities, creating a routine for strategic planning allows businesses to identify new chances for growth and innovation. By analysing trends and client needs, your firm can identify areas where it can expand and integrate new innovative value-added services.

When I work with accounting firms and business owners to strategy plan, I generally set Smart Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) with them in the following five key pillars:

  • Financial Management
  • People
  • Processes
  • Clients
  • Services

The pillars drive accountability to the plan and ongoing management of key objectives. In essence, if you get the people, processes, clients, and services goals working in sync the benefits should flow through to the financial management pillar. Alternatively, you can set the financial management drivers and link the remaining pillars into the strategy. The choice is yours.

Strategic planning isn’t all about partners making decisions. When you engage both senior management, stakeholders, and junior staff to brainstorm strategic ideas, you create a shared vision. This allows you to communicate the firm’s goals and you can foster a sense of collaborative engagement that can increase motivation and morale.

Through frequent feedback, flexibility, analysis and collaboration, your firm can reach your goals and adapt easily as industry and client demands fluctuate. The benefits of strategic planning on a regular basis will help your firm to stay agile, focused, and competitive in a rapidly changing environment.

If you would like to find out about my Strategy Enabled Program, contact me to book a complimentary 45-minute complimentary assessment to find out what your firm needs to streamline for success.

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Mark Holton

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